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Dr. Maurice F. Rabb

Ophthalmologist Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Jr., is internationally known for his pioneering work in cornea and retinal vascular diseases. He achieved many firsts as an African American physician. Rabb was born in 1932 in Kentucky, the son of Dr. Maurice Rabb, Sr., a physician and civil rights activist, and Jewel Rabb, a teacher. Because African Americans were banned from attending the University of Louisville, Rabb spent his first two years of undergraduate study at Indiana University. In 1951, when segregation ended in Kentucky, he transferred to the University of Louisville, becoming one of the first African American students admitted there. He graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1958.

Rabb did postgraduate training at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and studied ophthalmology at New York University. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, where he was the first African American chief resident. After his residency, Rabb established a private practice specializing in retinal diseases in downtown Chicago, something that African Americans were not doing at the time. In his notable career, he served as director of the Illinois Eye Bank and Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois Medical School, director of the Fluorescein Angiography Laboratory at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, and as co-director of the Sickle Cell Center at the University of Illinois Medical Center.

Most recently, he served as a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Mercy Hospital, president of the Mercy Hospital Medical Staff, and medical director of Prevent Blindness America. Rabb was the author of numerous articles and a collaborator on several medical films. He was married to Madeline Murphy Rabb, an artist and art consultant. They have two sons, Maurice and Christopher.

Dr. Rabb passed away on June 6, 2005.

Accession Number

A2001.061

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/16/2001

Last Name

Rabb

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Louisville Central High School Magnet Career Academy

Indiana University

University of Louisville

University of Louisville School of Medicine

First Name

Maurice

HM ID

RAB01

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Help me. Don't hurt me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/7/1932

Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Steak

Death Date

6/6/2005

Short Description

Opthamologist Dr. Maurice F. Rabb (1932 - 2005 ) was internationally known for his pioneering work in cornea and retinal vascular diseases. Rabb began his career when he established a private practice specializing in retinal diseases in downtown Chicago. He later served as director of the Illinois Eye Bank and Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois Medical School, director of the Fluorescein Angiography Laboratory at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, and as co-director of the Sickle Cell Center at the University of Illinois Medical Center.

Employment

University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary

Illinois Eye Bank

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Michael Reese Hospital

Mercy Hospital

Prevent Blindness America

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maurice Rabb interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maurice Rabb's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maurice Rabb details the origins of his name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maurice Rabb describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maurice Rabb describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maurice Rabb remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maurice Rabb describes his childhood environs, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maurice Rabb discusses his father's profession, part I

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maurice Rabb recalls his elementary school and recreational activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maurice Rabb describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maurice Rabb recalls his childhood interests in reading and technology

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maurice Rabb tells about playing with B.B. guns and slingshots

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maurice Rabb recalls segregation in his hometown, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maurice Rabb discusses his father's work as a doctor in 1930s Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maurice Rabb describes the influence of his family members

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maurice Rabb recounts his junior high school years away from home

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maurice Rabb recalls attending a segregated high school in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maurice Rabb recalls his early basketball prowess

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maurice Rabb talks about his youthful interest in pyrotechnics and radio and his father's anti-drinking stance

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maurice Rabb recounts a trip to France as a Boy Scout

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maurice Rabb recalls coming home from the Boy Scouts' World Jamboree in 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maurice Rabb tells about his father's race keeping him from being drafted as a physician in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maurice Rabb describes his career and college choice

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maurice Rabb recounts his two years at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maurice Rabb explains his transfer to the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maurice Rabb recounts his medical school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maurice Rabb discusses career decisions following medical school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maurice Rabb details his father's integration of Louisville General Hospital, early 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maurice Rabb recalls his experience as a medical intern in New York

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maurice Rabb recounts his residency at the University of Illinois, Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maurice Rabb recalls his Jewish social network while in medical school, part I

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maurice Rabb recalls his Jewish social network while in medical school, part II

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maurice Rabb remembers his mentor in ophthalmology

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maurice Rabb becomes the first black physician to practice in Chicago's Loop

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maurice Rabb pursues further ophthalmological study in a fellowship with Dr. Max Fine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maurice Rabb recounts courting his future wife

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Maurice Rabb recalls working on corneal transplants with Dr. Fine in San Francisco

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Maurice Rabb shares his experiences as a professor/physician in Chicago, 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Maurice Rabb reflects on the course of his career

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Maurice Rabb remembers influential ophthalmologists

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Maurice Rabb discusses the demographics of his patients

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Maurice Rabb reflects on developments in ophthalmological technology

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Maurice Rabb discusses trends in ophthalmological procedures

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Maurice Rabb shares advice for those pursuing careers in medicine

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Maurice Rabb discusses African Americans in medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Maurice Rabb lists national and international institutions with which he is involved

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maurice Rabb considers his motivation for career success

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maurice Rabb talks about his research on how sickle cell anemia affects the eye

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maurice Rabb discusses his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maurice Rabb discusses the importance of family to him

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maurice Rabb defines success

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maurice Rabb shares his views on the progress of black America

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maurice Rabb considers his legacy